I am super focused on self-confidence right now. And it is probably because I am about to launch something I have never done before. Which has caused me to read and do a bunch of research lately. And while I have thought about confidence many, many times before, (and my own level of it or lack thereof at times) I was struck by something I read recently. In the book, Think and Grow Rich, which was originally written by Napoleon Hill in 1937, he talks a lot about confidence. In fact, he suggests we should spend time each day focusing on it.
Did you know that Bill Gates first company failed? It was called Traf-o-Data. Microsoft was his second company. Did you know that Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was four years old and his teachers did not think he was smart? Or that Benjamin Franklin dropped out of school at age ten? Not only was Mr. Franklin one of our country’s Founding Fathers, he also invented the lightning rod and bifocals!! Or that Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic and many other successful business and humanitarian efforts has dyslexia? Or that Oprah Winfrey was repeatedly molested by more than one family member and gave birth to a baby boy who died shortly after? She is now one of the world’s most successful women.
So how does someone’s tragic or unfortunate past not prevent them from becoming a force in the world? One thing is for sure. No matter what, you must believe in yourself and your abilities. This requires confidence.
The thing about confidence is that you are not necessarily born with it. Practice improves confidence. And even people who are confident can improve their level of confidence. Your Mom was right. Practice does lead us to better results. And practice can improve your confidence too.
We are often our own worst enemies, and we fail to have the staying power to repeat something over and over to get better. Just look at Michael Jordan, one of the world’s best basketball players. He didn’t even make the basketball team in high school!
Repetition is the key to mastering anything. As you work on your self-confidence, know that this repetition and your ability to learn, enables you to get out of your own way and build more confidence.
On the flipside, don’t let modesty hold you back either. I know for me, I never want to appear like I am a self-promoter, or someone who is totally self-absorbed. I am always cautious with modesty. However, if we can’t articulate our accomplishments, to share our value with the world, how will anyone know to ask us for help?
As you sincerely and genuinely share your knowledge and expertise with others, your confidence is no longer perceived as self-promotion. Acting with confidence to help inform another person is about purpose and sharing something of value.
When you play to your strengths and are sincere in sharing with others to help them, your confidence will be reinforced. Important to note, it will not hurt your self-confidence to honestly share what you are not good at or what you don’t know. This is called vulnerability. Being honest and vulnerable is a good thing. It’s a sign of leadership.
And here’s the real gift. When you share with someone about what you don’t know, or what you aren’t sure about, the other person will very likely be willing to help you. This will create an opportunity for you to learn something new. And the best news of all is learning something new will enhance your confidence!
My favorite tips (and the ones I practice daily) for growing confidence are:
1. Nail a positive first impression. Dress well.
2. Power pose. Guaranteed to boost confidence. Check out Dr. Amy Cuddy’s TedTalk.
3. Think positive. Replace any negative thoughts that come into your mind.
4. Have gratitude. Write down three things every morning/night that you are grateful for.
5. Be prepared. The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are right.
6. Know thyself. There is a reason Plato and Socrates wrote about this and its withstood the test of time.
7. Be kind and generous. Give more than you receive. This works. Believe me.
As always, I welcome your feedback. Reach out if I can help or provide support. I would love to hear from you.